Erin Go Bragh! If you didn’t get enough believing that Irish is an attitude, beer drinking, and yelling random Celtic phrases during St. Patrick’s Day, you’ve got another chance this weekend at the Dublin Irish Festival. This 32-year-old festival hosts over 60 acts for visitors locally, nationally, and even internationally each year.
My hazy recollections of the Dublin Irish Festival involve standing on a stool while cheering on Gaelic Storm, Guinness in hand. While I don’t discourage you from doing the same, it is sadly stereotypical and really shouldn’t be your entire Irish Festival experience. So, I turned to my friend Charlene Dubin, longtime festival volunteer stage manager for advice from a slightly more sober and experienced point of view.
Download the app. New this year, the official app for the Dublin Irish Festival will give you access to maps and allow you to customize a schedule. If there’s a schedule change or a giveaway, you’ll be among the first to know.
Drink tokens. Buy early, buy often. The most popular line tends to be by the Dublin Stage. Try the line by the Ceili Dance Tent instead.
Hydration. Keep up your drinking stamina with water. Guests are allowed to bring up to two sealed containers of a nonalcoholic beverage (no cans or bottles) into the festival.
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Cultural activities. Storytelling/spoken word, music, and genealogy workshops are informative and less crowded than many other events. Take a breather and learn something you won’t find anywhere else.
Get some religion. If you arrive prior to 11 a.m. on Sunday, a donated food pantry item serves as your admission. You can also attend one of many worship services from a full Irish Catholic mass to an interdenominational worship service to a Druid service.
Volunteer! The festival is one of Dubin’s favorite summer moments. Volunteers get VIP parking and shuttle service, and are absolutely required to have fun. Dubin has personally gotten to rub elbows with John Whelan of the original Riverdance band and members of The Willis Clan. Apparently handing out water on a hot August day goes a long way towards making friends.
If you still have questions, the festival’s very informative website is sure to help. Sláinte!